Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

So to a man, when once, a crown he wears,

The coronation-day 's more than a thousand years.1

[ocr errors]

He would have gone on, I perceived, in his blasphemies, but that by God's grace I became so bold as thus to interrupt him :. " I understand now perfectly (which I guessed at long before) what kind of angel and protector you are; and, though your style in verse be very much mended * since you were wont to deliver oracles, yet your doctrine is much worse than ever you had formerly (that I heard of) the face to publish; whether vour long practice with mankind has increased and improved your malice, or whether you think us in this age to be grown so impudently wicked, that there needs no more art or disguises to draw us to your party."

"My dominion (said he hastily, and with a dreadful furious look) is so great in this world, and I am so powerful a monarch of it, that I need not be ashamed that you should know me; and that you may see l know you too, I know you to be an obstinate and inveterate malignant; and for that reason I shall take you along with me to the next garrison of ours; from whence you shall go to the Tower, and from thence to the court of justice, and from

* This compliment W2S intended, not so much to the foregoing as to the following verses; of which the author had reason, to be proud, but, as being delivered.in his own person, could not. so properly make the pancgyrick. Hurd.

[ocr errors]

thence you know whither." I was almost in the very pounces of the great bird of prey:

When, lo, ere the last words were fully spoke,
From a fair cloud, which rather op'd than broke,
A flash of light, rather than lightning, came,
So swift, and jet so gentle, was the flame.
Upon it rode (and, in his full career,
Seem'd to my eyes no sooner there than here)
The comeliest youth of all th' angelick race;
Lovely his shape, ineffable his face.
The frowns, with which hestrook the trembling fiend.
All smiles of human beauty did transcend;
His beams of locks fell part dishevel'd down,
Part upwards curl'd, and form'd a natural crown,
Such as the British monarchs us'd to wear;
If gold might be compar'd with angels' hair.
His coat and flowing mantle were so bright,
They seem'd both made of woven silver light:
Across his breast an azure ruban went,
At which a medal hung, that did present,
In wondrous living figures, to the sight,
The mystick champion's, and old dragon's, fight;
And from his mantle's side there shone afar
A fix'd, and, I believe, a real star.
In his fair hand (what need was there of more ?)
No arms, but th' English bloody cross, he bore,
Which when he tow'rds th' affrighted tyrant bent,
And some few words pronounc'd (but what they
meant,

Or were, could not, alas! by me be known,
Only, I well perceiv'd, Jesus was one),
He trembled, and he roar'd, and fled away,
Mad to quit thus his more than hop'd-for prey.

Such rage inflames the wolf's wild heart and eyes
(Robb'd, as he thinks unjustly, of his prize)
Whom unawares the shepherd spies, and draws
The bleating lamb from out his ravenous jaws:
The shepherd fain himself would he assail,
But fear above his hunger does prevail,
He knows his foe too strong, and must be gone;
He grins, as he looks back, and howls, as he goes on.

Page 100. Across his breast an azure ruban went. I observed, that the plan of this discourse was poetical; and the conclusion is according to rule—

"Nee Dcus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus

"Incident"

But, to take the full beauty of the contrivance, we are to reflect, that the tutelar genius of England is here introduced, not merely to unravel the intricacy of the scene, but to form a striking contrast to the foul fiend, who had usurped his place; and still further, to disgrace the usurper, by a portrait of the rightful heir to the British crown, presented to us under an angelic form, and in all the force and beauty of poetic colouring. Hurd.

VOL. III.

ESSAYS,

IN VERSE AND PROSE*.

* In these discourses (as in every thing, indeedr.whieh Mr. Cowley wrote in prose) we have a great deal of good sense, embellished by a lively, but very natural expression. The sentiments flow from the heart, and generally in a vein of pure and proper English.—What a force must he have put on himself, when he complied with the false taste of his age, in his poetical, which he too modestly thought his best

works? But the pieces of poetry, inserted in these Essays,

whether originals or translations, are, with all their seeming negligence of style and numbers, extremely elegant. The prevailing character of them is that of the author, a sensible reflecting melancholy. On occasion, however, this character gives way to another, not so natural to him, yet sustained with equal grace, that of an unforced gaiety; which breaks out, every where, in many delicate sallies of wit and humour, but is most conspicuous in his imitations of Horace.

HURO.

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »